Sermon: Piece of the Pattern

sewing pattern 1“Piece of the Pattern”

(January 27, 2013) Confident in his calling from God, Jesus knows and names his place in God’s story. Are we ready to proclaim our ministry and vision with every breath and every action? (1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Luke 4:14-21)

Also, Jesus invents the mic drop.


Sermon: Family Ties

x familytree clipart“Family Ties”

(January 20, 2013) Jesus engages his family and his community in ways that challenge our conceptions of these groups, identifying family not as a group of people related by blood and marriage, but as a community united by love, support, and shared values. Where have you felt part of a family– your nuclear one, or the larger universal human family? (John 2:1-11)

fam tree wordart

The two images used here were referenced during the sermon as representing two different ways of visualizing family.

Sermon: Be. Loved. Beloved.

peanuts 1“Be. Loved. Beloved.”

(January 13, 2013) Each one of us is unique, marked and known in our imperfections, scuffs, and rough places. And yet we are known and loved intimately by God, claimed and called God’s own. (Isaiah 43:1-7; Luke 3:15-17, 21-22)

The exercise I use in this sermon is a simple one to try on your own with a bag of peanuts (still in their shells), and has the added bonus of coming with a snack as long as you don’t have allergies. I first learned this at a mother-daughter seminar in my teens, when it was used to illustrate a parent’s love for a child. I have never forgotten that lesson. The seminar was hosted by Planned Parenthood, St. Johnsbury VT.

Sermon: The Power of Power

hand fist power“The Power of Power”

(January 6, 2013) In any given injustice or imbalance, one must always trace the power dynamic. Who has power? Who is being dis-empowered? Who is afraid of losing power? Who willingly relinquishes it? Jesus’ life is filled with the questions, and he calls us to think of true power very differently… (Matthew 2:1-12)

Sermon: Against All Odds


(Christmas Eve, December 24, 2012) Jesus is born as the son of poor, unwed parents, as a Jewish man in the Roman Empire. Ours is a God accustomed to hope and love that transcend the odds stacked against us. May Christ be light to you in life’s dark places this Christmas, and always. (Luke 2:1-20)

This sermon draws source material, information, and quotations from a 2004 Christmas Eve sermon by Dean Scotty McLennan (available as a pdf here), and a blog post, “God Can’t Be Kept Out,” by Rachel Held Evans (found here).

Sermon: Leaping for Joy

joy jump“Leaping for Joy”

(December 23, 2012) In the midst of stories that are almost entirely about men, two women, Mary and Elizabeth, share in the rare joy of hope and new life in the midst of the world’s hopeless places. When has your joy been overflowing? When has your well run dry? (Luke 1:39-45)

The music for reflection this week is “We Found Love in a Hopeless Place,” by Rihanna. A lyrics-only version of the video (not the official video) is available here.